A Denver baker who adamantly refused to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding must offer his services to gay couples, a judge ruled Friday. Judge Robert N. Spencer said Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips must comply with the order despite his religious beliefs or pay fines, according to the Associated Press. The order reportedly said his shop discriminated against a couple “because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage.”
No fines were imposed this time, but Spencer’s order said Phillips must “cease and desist from discriminating” against same-sex couples. The baker’s lawyer, however, said the order forces him to violate his religious beliefs. “He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck,” Nicolle Martin reportedly said. “If Jack can’t make wedding cakes, he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system.” “That is a reprehensible choice,” she added. “It is antithetical to everything America stands for.” The case was brought to court after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Phillips when he reportedly refused to bake a cake for the wedding of Charlie Craig, 33, and David Mullins, 29. More
President Vladimir Putin tightened his control over Russia’s media on Monday by dissolving the main state news agency and replacing it with an organization that is to promote Moscow’s image abroad. The move to abolish RIA Novosti and create a news agency to be known as Rossiya Segodnya is the second in two weeks strengthening Putin’s hold on the media as he tries to reassert his authority after protests against his rule. Most Russian media outlets are already loyal to Putin, and opponents get little air time, but the shake-up underlined their importance to Putin keeping power and the Kremlin’s concern about the president’s ratings and image. The head of the new agency, to be built from the ashes of RIA Novosti, is a conservative news anchor, Dmitry Kiselyov, who once caused outrage by saying the organs of homosexuals should not be used in transplants. ”The main focus of … Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) is to highlight abroad the state policy and public life of the Russian Federation,” said a decree signed by Putin.
Sergei Ivanov, the head of the presidential administration, told reporters that the changes were intended to save money and improve the state media. But the new organization has strong similarities to APN, a Soviet-era news agency whose role included writing articles about “the social-economic and cultural life of the Soviet people and items reflecting Soviet society’s point of view on important internal and international events”. RIA said in an English-language article about Putin’s step: “The move is the latest in a series of shifts in Russia’s news landscape which appear to point towards a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector.” Rossiya Segodnya’s focus on building up Russia abroad could solidify Putin’s grip on information by further limiting sources of news for Russians whose TV screens are dominated by state-controlled channels. Putin’s decree appeared to have little effect on the two other major Russian news agencies, state-run Itar-Tass and private Interfax, but it could benefit both by making RIA’s replacement less of a competitor domestically. Itar-Tass is the successor of the Soviet official Tass agency, while Interfax has more leeway as a private agency but is restricted by the Kremlin’s dominance. More
It happened Dec. 2, 2013, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. LifeSiteNews.com broke the story with the headline: “Violent Mob of Topless Pro-Abort Feminists Attacks Praying Men Defending Cathedral.” The raw footage is disturbing to the extreme. (Warning: viewer discretion advised for nudity, lesbian lewdness and violence. A censored version is available here.) Both the video and the story have since gone viral. WND summarizes the attacks as follows: “Chanting, ‘Get your rosaries out of our ovaries,’ a mob of pro-abortion feminists—many of whom were topless with Nazi swastikas on their chests and foreheads—attacked and sexually molested a group of Roman Catholic men who were praying as they stood outside a cathedral in Argentina to protect it from threats of vandalism.” WND Managing Editor David Kupelian called the siege a “display of demonic fury.” Indeed, it’s hard to watch the footage without discerning the palpably dark spirit that possesses many of the estimated 17,000 lesbian, pro-abortion and feminist assailants (but I repeat myself). Thousands of painted, topless pagans prancing a ring around the pope burned in effigy—for the chief purpose of celebrating a right to sacrifice, alive, their own children to the goddess abortion—is eerily redolent of ancient Baal worshipers dancing about the inferno and live-roasting, in burnt offering to Moloch, their own children. For liberals, although the means may change, the ends remain the same. Equally disturbing are a number of comments posted about the incident on at least one award-winning gay activist blog. Ironically, the site, “JoeMyGod,” a serial Christian-defaming cyber-rag, won the award for “Outstanding Blog” in 2011 at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards. While Joe Jervis—the blog’s militant atheist and gay sadomasochist founder—refuses to denounce the Argentinian hate crimes outright, he at least begrudgingly admits, “I really can’t see how this advances the cause of abortion rights.” Ya think? Even so, Jervis, whose blog has a long history of anti-Christian extremism and violence-charged rhetoric, nonetheless permitted several of his regular posters to not only condone the feminist attacks but to illegally call for a steep escalation in anti-Christian violence in general (up to and including church bombings and both the castration and even murder of Christians in the U.S.).
(Update: Jervis has now scrubbed his blog of the post. Screenshots have been taken.) Poster “mike moore” kicked off the bloodlust: “BRAVA! I wish this happened all the time, particularly here is the U.S. … It’s LONG past time for women to violently react to [being] … denied birth control and then forced to carry a never-wanted child to term.” ”Jeff Chang” offered specific suggestions as to what such violence might look like: “How about destroying the oppresive regims [sic] of the church. To that end would you support firebombing a church? How about removing the clergy [sic] from power? Perhaps a ultra radical [sic] hit squad can use lead pipes and beat the clergy to death. How about just creating FEAR for all male Catholics? A bomb during there [sic] planning meeting would work, do you support that?” Chang then answered his own questions: “As far as I’m concerned, those quasi-religious, hypocritical bastards should have been castrated on the steps of the cathedral they so pompously took it upon themselves to ‘protect’—talk about your bulls–t grand-stand plays. That’s right. We should get rid of ALL of them in one fell swoop. I say that we firebomb the next planning meeting.” A user named “Hands off my uteris!!” agreed: “They should have burned their f–-ing church to the ground!” So did “Rolf”: “They were lucky they didn’t start castrating them.” Poster “Seamus Ruah” justified the violence and sexual assault, comparing it to the similarly violent Stonewall Riots of 1969. Stonewall is largely credited for launching today’s increasingly aggressive gay rights movement. “When you push a segment of the population too far,” wrote Ruah, “they have a tendency to fight back. /Stonewall.” In the aforementioned WND report, David Kupelian recalled a similar “1989 attack on New York City’s famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral in which hundreds of ‘gay’ activists stormed the church and terrorized its parishioners during Mass.” JoeMyGod’s “BudClark” recalls it too: “I HAD a problem with Act Up’s ‘Die-In’ in the middle of High Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, back in the day. I DON’T, anymore. The Catholic HIERARCHY deserve [sic] anything and everything they have coming to them, including JAIL.” Poster “Vel” had a suggestion for Christians and conservatives: “I hope the right wingers come here and take note of these comments. … Assaulting and humiliating people and interfering with their nonviolent expression is OK if done for the right political cause. So the right wingers should note all of this.” Rather than lamenting the anti-Christian violence itself, poster “zhera” instead worried: “My only problem with this video is that the Catholics are now able to use it as proof for how they are victims.” Proof indeed, zhera. And with the burgeoning success of radical LGBT and pro-abortion legislation worldwide—especially in countries like Argentina and the good ‘ol USA—we can expect a rapid increase in similar such proofs of systemic anti-Christian persecution both at home and abroad. In its story, LifeSite reports that “some of the women chanted a song, with the lyrics: ‘To the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, who wants to get between our sheets, we say that we want to be whores, travesties and lesbians. Legal abortion in every hospital.’” Nice. There you have it: The heart of gay rights activism, left-wing feminism and pro-choice savagery distilled in one angry rant. “During the attack some men were visibly weeping,” continues LifeSite. “None of them retaliated against the abuses heaped on them.” Indeed, to borrow from Madonna’s depiction of Evita, it seems Argentina has much to cry for. And so does America. But as for “JoeMyGod,” the question is this: Will GLAAD now publicly disavow Joe Jervis for allowing (and perhaps tacitly condoning) such violent (and very likely illegal) rhetoric? Will this self-styled anti-defamation group rescind its “Outstanding Blog” award? Don’t hold your breath. Even still, a bigger question remains: Will federal authorities investigate these threats? If it were Christians threatening gays, Eric Holder himself would kick in the door with MSNBC in tow. Every newspaper in America would give it above-the-fold coverage. But it wasn’t Christians threatening gays. It was gays threatening Christians. And that just doesn’t fit the false “gay victimhood” narrative. Charisma
Iran and six world powers began expert-level talks on Monday to work out nitty gritty details in implementing a landmark accord for Tehran to curb its disputed nuclear program in return for a limited easing of sanctions. The preliminary accord is seen as a first step towards resolving a decade-old standoff over suspicions Iran might be covertly pursuing a nuclear weapons “breakout” capability, a perception that has raised the risk of a wider Middle East war. Officials from Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia met at the Vienna headquarters of the U.N. nuclear agency, which will play a central role in verifying that Tehran carries out its part of the interim deal. The outcome of the meeting is expected to determine when Iran stops its most sensitive nuclear activity and when it gets the respite in sanctions that it has been promised in return. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it would have “some involvement” in the discussions, which are expected to continue on Tuesday. Held under tight secrecy, media were barred from the floor where the meeting took place. The talks are aimed at “devising mechanisms” for the Geneva accord’s implementation, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted by state Press TV as saying.
Iranian nuclear as well as central bank officials would take part, he said. Western diplomats said detailed matters not addressed at the Nov. 20-24 talks in Geneva must be ironed out before the deal can be put into practice. These include how and when the IAEA, which regularly visits Iranian nuclear sites to try to ensure there are no diversions of atomic material, will carry out its expanded role. A start to sanctions relief would hinge on verification that Iran was fulfilling its side of the accord, they said. The deal was designed to halt Iran’s nuclear advances for a period of six months to buy time for negotiations on a final settlement of the standoff. Diplomats say implementation may start in January after the technical details have been settled. Scope for easing the dispute peacefully opened after the June election of a comparative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as Iranian president. He won in a landslide by pledging to ease Tehran’s international isolation and win relief from sanctions that have severely damaged the oil producer’s economy. More
US President Barack Obama defended the interim deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program saying the international community should be realistic, and sought to reassure Israel saying the future agreement would contain enough “safeguards”. Speaking at the Brookings Institution Saban Forum in Washington on Saturday, Obama said that an agreement with Tehran was going to be better than the alternatives. He also said a final deal was possible, which included enough verification safeguards, which would satisfy all foreign powers that Tehran could not build a nuclear bomb. Obama indicated that a future deal could include a capability for Iran to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, but that their nuclear program would be under sufficient international scrutiny to ensure that Tehran is kept from “breakout” capacity where it could race to build an atomic bomb. ”One can envision an ideal world in which Iran said, ‘We’ll destroy every element and facility and you name it, it’s all gone.’ I can envision a world which Congress passed every one of my bills that I put forward. I mean, there are a lot of things that I can envision that would be wonderful,” Obama said jokingly. ”But precisely because we don’t trust the nature of the Iranian regime, I think that we have to be more realistic and ask ourselves: what puts us in a strong position to assure ourselves that Iran’s not having a nuclear weapon … what is required to accomplish that and how does that compare to other options that we might take?” he added. Obama continued that calls from Israel for a complete halt to enrichment on Iranian soil were not within reach but that any future deal brokered with Tehran would not permit underground fortified facilities or advanced centrifuges.
“If you asked me what is the likelihood that we’re able to arrive at the end state that I was just describing earlier, I wouldn’t say that it’s more than 50/50,” Obama concluded. “But we have to try.” US relations with Israel have been strained since the interim deal was reached last month between Iran and six world powers, the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. The agreement is designed to give the international community time to see if Tehran is serious about curbing its nuclear ambitions while providing some relief form the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal reached in Geneva an “historic mistake” and believes that giving any sanctions relief is dangerous. In response to Obama’s comments Netanyahu warned Sunday that the international community should be “beware” of Iran’s intentions and insisted that any final accord must secure that “termination of Iran’s military nuclear capability”. More